Update! The latest Ameyoko post lives here with updated photos.
If you fancy seeing some market life in Tokyo then there's probably no place better than Ameyoko.
Ameyoko is a 400 meter long market that stretches between JR Okachimachi and Ueno station on the Yamanote line.
"Ameyoko" [アメ横[あめよこ]] is short for the full name of the market which is "Ameya Yokocho" [アメヤ横丁[あめやよこちょう]]
Many moons ago, American soldiers used to come here to sell their bits n pieces to make a few yen on the side.
One of the origins of the name "Ameya" is said to come from "AMEricans" and "YA" meaning "shop" = American shop.
Another explanation of the original meaning of "Ameya" is said to come from many shops in the market that sold sweets. "Ame" meaning "sweets" and "ya" meaning shop.
Ameyoko has many places to fill ones stomach at reasonable prices.
Many fresh fruits...
Dried foods n sweets...
Grandad not for sale...
A hawker stall in Japan is known as a "Yatai" [屋台[やたい]] - basically a cart where food is cooked in the open air. Yatai are commonly found in markets like Ameyoko and at festivals like the ones I showed you before in Azabujyuban.
I wish Yatai were more popular in Tokyo as it would be very convenient grabbing a bite to eat.
I love to eat out at Hawker stalls and am looking forward to making my next trip to Malaysia and Singapore again soon. Will stuff myself full of Popiah, Kuay Tiao noodles, Hokkien noodles, Loh bak, Siew Yook rice and Hainan chicken rice. Although the last time I went was a few years ago - not sure if hawker stalls are still around or not.
Are open air food stalls popular in your region?
Compared to 30 years ago, the amount of shops selling fresh seafood has declined to be replaced by shops selling sporting goods. Have no idea why the transition was seafood to sporting goods ^^;
You can also pick up a load of cheap T-shirts.
Keep your eye on the roads that lead off the main Ameyoko market as they lead into buildings filled with smaller shops.
Leather goods and clothing.
One thing that you wont find in Ameyoko are fake brands and opensource DVDs - unless you know the right people to ask. Fake brands and opensource goods readily available in your region?
More fresh seafoods.
This girl wants you to eat her balls.
The balls are filled with anything that you want - a light/medium snack to have between meals.
Yep we have kebabs too.
How about picking up some Katsuo as a present for your nephew - 500 yen each.
There are shops underneath Ameyoko in the Ameyoko Chika Building where one can buy a load of oriental food stuffs.
Its like another dimension under here - you are walking and then all of a sudden the smells, language and lighting change - you are in China.
Apart from the Chinese stores here, there are a few stores in Ikebukuro and Shinjuku that sell Chinese food stuffs too.
There are many stalls that sell snacks n fruits so you may want to plan to go there on an empty stomach.
The Japanese traditionally don't sit outside restaurants to eat but Ameyoko has a few places with tables n chairs outside.
If you see somebody clapping outside a shop, its not because they think you dress well but because its a traditional way to attract customers.
Eating out in the open air popular in your region too?
More fresh fruits.
Many of my gaijin comrades have made it over to Ameyoko - is/was on your visit list?
At the other end of the market at Ueno station.
Are there markets that you can recommend to your fellow comrade who is visiting your region?